to the Holy Land, Jerusalem
with Vladyka Agafangel's blessing
July 2-16, 2011
Visitation of Holy Places
Spiritual direction by Vladyka Andronik
Church members interested in participation and/or preparation, please contact:
Mark Kotlaroff (845)-709-1312 or Tatiana Tkachenko (203)-938-3654
St. Sergius Learning Center
104 Lake Road
Valley Cottage, New York
Here is the English translation of the troparion that was published in Russian in the most recent issue of the Missionary leaflet. In this hymn he is first addressed as an apostle. "To America" is implied; he also served in China.
Troparion Tone 4
As one equal to the Apostles,
and enthroned among the hierarchs of Russia
O Godly-wise cultivator of the Russian diaspora,
zealot of Orthodoxy, confessor of Christ's love,
O hierarch father Philaret pray to Christ God,
to establish unity of mind in the Church of our fathers,
and to save our souls.
This troparion is not included in the proposed yet-unofficial service todate: [November 2012].
Visit from Down Under: St Nicholas Convent was blessed with an uplifting visit from hieromonk Andrei (Erastov), presently serving the ROCA community in Melbourne, Australia. While in the country to work on iconography projects Fr. Andrei kindly served Vigil and Liturgy in the Convent’s Chapel of St. Philaret for the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God (Sept 20-21, n.s.) and the following Sunday liturgy (Sept 25-26, n.s.). His soberness, intelligence and piety made a very positive impression on all present. We are thankful he was able to take the time to join us in prayer.
On Columbus Day weekend (October 9-10) Fr. Dimitry Amelchenko and family from Boston visited the Convent along with one of their parishioners. Fr. Dimitry celebrated Liturgy for us that Sunday for which we are grateful.
Letter from a monk regarding the MP-ROCOR union: Upon the request of Monk Theophan of Holy Trinity Monastery we have posted Fr. Theophan’s letter containing his thoughts on the 2007 union between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate. It appears that there are still those within ROCOR-MP who are disappointed about the results of that union. See www.stnicholasconvent.blogspot.com or http://www.stnicholasconvent.org/library/FrTheophanEnglish.pdf and http://www.stnicholasconvent.org/library/FrTheophanRussian.pdf for the Russian version.
First stage underway on new church: Plans have begun to build a free-standing wooden church on the grounds of St. Nicholas Convent. As a preliminary step a 30’X 40’ pole barn on the property has been dismantled and is being rebuilt in a location closer to the road to be reconstructed as a 2-car garage and storage shed for the Convent. (see photos)
It is hoped that at the location of the original pole barn work can begin next spring to construct a wooden church dedicated to St. Nicholas.
Upcoming ordination: Sunday, December 19 (St. Nicholas Day) Archbishop Andronik will ordain reader John Granger to the diaconate at St. Nicholas Convent. It is hoped that within a few months reader John will then be ordained to the priesthood and assigned to St. Nicholas Convent.
Nativity Fast retreat December 24-27, 2010: With the blessing of Archbishop Andronik plans are underway to organize a youth retreat at St. Nicholas Convent (ages 16-25) the weekend of December 24-27. More details on speakers and costs will be forthcoming in the next week.
From Monk Theophan of Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville
October 2/15/, 2010
This letter is a concerned voice from a soul who has always belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR).
In 2001, the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR stated in an Epistle that,
"During these days of universal apostasy, which, through the pan- heresy of ecumenism, has even infected most of the Local Orthodox Churches, we must stand united, that the enemy of our salvation may not use our divisions to destroy the voice of our confession in the homeland and the diaspora." 
Sadly enough this voice of confession is not heard anymore. Instead, ROCOR/MP moves closer and closer toward the ecumenical Orthodox hierarchs and clergy, while rejecting the True Orthodox Christians, with whom we once confessed our unity. We promised to defend the Truth, but who reached out to support Vladyka Diomid in his lonely fight for the Truth? Who spoke up against the un-Christian World Summit of Religious Leaders in Moscow in 2006? Why are our spiritual leaders silent?
It is well-known that the Moscow Patriarchate together with World Orthodoxy participates in the ecumenical movement. It is also well-known that the Moscow Patriarchate still believes in the salvific act of the Declaration of 1927. And still our hierarchs state that ROCOR, under His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel, together with all other True Orthodox Churches, who have walled themselves off "during these days of universal apostasy" are outside the Church and their sacraments invalid. How can this be when we ourselves just recently confessed our unity with them?
We are canonical and in the Church. That is our main argument. And yet, the soul is in dire agony, feeling that something is completely wrong. Fr. Seraphim Rose explains it the following way:
"The apostasy of our times, to a degree unique in Christian history, is proceeding not primarily by false teachings or canonical deviations, but rather by a false understanding of Orthodoxy on the part of those who may even be perfectly Orthodox in their dogmatic teaching and canonical situation. A correct ‘Orthodoxy’ deprived of the spirit of true Christianity - this is the meaning of Sergianism, and it cannot be fought by calling it a ‘heresy,’ which it is not, nor by detailing its canonical irregularities, which are only incidental to something much more important." 
Obviously, apostasy is not only a deviation from the canons, but first of all a deviation from the spirit of Orthodoxy. Besides the example of Sergianism, one can also mention the New Calendar. Neither of these two can, strictly speaking, be considered heresies. And yet, we know very well the damage they have both caused the Orthodox Church. Canonicity and apostasy can and do, therefore, easily go hand in hand.
Today obedience is no longer understood as a God-pleasing obedience to Christ and His Church, but rather as a complete submission to Church authority, regardless of its teaching. Salvation is no longer attained by following the conscience of the Church of Christ and one`s own conscience, but by blind obedience to the official Church authorities. To be, not in the Church of Christ, but in today`s World Orthodoxy, has become the absolute criterion for salvation.
These Church authorities are, therefore, not interested in believers who follow their conscience according to the conscience of the Church. We are not only asked not to think, but made not to think.
In the Church of Christ, though, there can be no violence on the conscience. Such violence breaks people morally and creates a spiritual apathy, depriving them of the ability to freely and truly follow Christ. Every Christian must follow his conscience, should it be even unto death. One, though, must do so in a truly Orthodox manner with Christian love, humility and moderation.
We must try to understand that most of the believers, who are not following World Orthodoxy, are acting by their own conscience and the conscience of the Church. Seeing that World Orthodoxy does not have the correct and saving confession of the faith, many sober and pious faithful have walled themselves off not from the Church of Christ but from apostasy. The Old Calendar Movement is therefore not a heresy, neither is it a schism, but a walling off from falsehood.
Having accepted the position of the official Church leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate and World Orthodoxy, together with their spirit of apostasy and conformism, the spiritual leaders of ROCOR/MP have not only compromised themselves in the saddest way, but have also deeply disappointed many of its faithful, as well as many of our pious brothers and sisters inside the Moscow Patriarchate and World Orthodoxy itself, who expected to see this Champion of Truth courageously expose all falsehood. The pain of witnessing this fall is intensified even more when one is asked to accept it as a glorious victory. The tragedy of ROCOR/MP, therefore, is not so much its formal union with the Moscow Patriarchate and World Orthodoxy, but its wholehearted acceptance of their path and spirit.
If our Christian life is to be truly pleasing to God, both a Christian loving heart and a true confession of Faith must be present. It is not only a question of where, but also of how one confesses his faith. Without a Christian loving and humble heart, one`s "confession of Faith" will have no justification in the eyes of God, but will only harm oneself and the sacred unity of the Church. On the other hand, if we reject the salvific Truths, Traditions and spirit of the Church, or perhaps just indifferently follow along, then that will equally endanger our salvation. Both extremes lack the "spirit of true Christianity" - the divine Love of God ̶ and should be avoided. Apostasy, therefore, is simply the deviation from the Royal Path of Christian love towards God and man manifested in heresies and the lack of the spirit of true Christianity.
We observe that World Orthodoxy is getting more and more infected by "the pan-heresy of ecumenism," estranging itself from the spirit of Christianity, while preserving the outward forms of the Church. This has been prophesied by the Holy Fathers and Holy Scripture and the process began a long time ago. That is why many pious Orthodox Christians are quietly stepping aside, in order to protect themselves. Many faithful in World Orthodoxy itself are also slowly beginning to lose patience.
This letter is a concerned and quiet voice. Such voices, though, are labeled as proud, rebellious and full of self-deceit.
World Orthodoxy has taken its course. It is a course based on the wide path of love for this world. It is not the narrow path of the Cross and it is not a path which should be followed.
Monk Theophan Holy Trinity Monastery
Jordanville, NY USA Ss Cyprian and Justina, October 2/15, 2010.
 Living Orthodoxy, Epistle of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, 2001. #126, vol.XXI # 6, p.26, left column, last par., line 5.  Andreyev Ivan: “Russia`s Catacomb Saints, Lives of the New Martyrs”. Saint Herman of Alaska Press, Platina, California, 1982, p. 257, par. 2.
Orthodox Life July-August 1994
Behold how good and joyous it is for brethren to dwell together in unity [Psalm 132:1]
In our days, when the Church is assailed from all sides by heresy and schism, the knowledge that we are not alone in our struggle for purity of faith can be extremely comforting. Recently [in July 1994], a day of great significance in the resistance against apostasy occurred: the entering into full sacramental communion of the ROCOR with the SIR headed by Metropoitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili. As a visible display of unity, [the hierarchs] concelebrated on the feast day of Saint Vladimir, Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of the Slavs, on July 15/28 in the Cathedral of the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow in San Francisco, California.
The history of the Old Calendar Church of Greece is a radiant example of strength in persecution and uncompromising love for the Holy Orthodox Faith. The Church of Greece uncanonically introduced the New Gregorian Calendar in 1924. Initially, only a small group of laymen resisted this innovation. Gradually, a number of priests began to return to the Old Calendar, especially following the miraculous apparition of the Cross above a church outside of Athens which followed the traditional Church calendar during the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross according to the Julian [Old] Calendar. The majority of the clergymen at this time[1924-1935] were monks of the Holy Mountain who traveled throughout Greece, founding parishes and monasteries. Throughout this time, the State Church persecuted the Old Calendarists: services were interrupted, clergy were arrested, processions were broken up, and churches were closed. Despite these measures, by 1934 over 800 communities had formed throughout Greece following the Old Calendar.
Gradually, a number of priests began to return to the Old Calendar, especially following the miraculous apparition of the Cross above a church outside of Athens
A breakthrough occurred in 1935 when three bishops of the State Church returned to the Old Calendar: Metropolitan Germanos of Demetrias, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Zakynthos and Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina, who later became known as the leader of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece. These three went on to consecrate four more bishops: Germanos of the Cyclades, Polykarpos of Diavleia, Christophoros of Megara, and Matthew of Vrestheni. However sadly, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Zakynthos and two of the newly consecrated bishops, Polykarpos and Christphoros, returned to the State Church. The remaining four bishops formed the first Holy Synod of the Church of True Orthodox Christians in Greece.
In 1937, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina, when asked whether the State church still possessed sacramental Grace, replied that, although it was wrong in accepting the New Calendar, nonetheless it still possessed Grace, for it had not been condemned by a pan-Orthodox council. This statement caused division; Bishops Matthew and Germanos separated themselves from Metropolitan Chrysostomos, tragically weakening the strength of the Old Calendar movement. A positive event occurred however,in 1945, when Bishops Polykarpos of Diavleia and Christophoros of Megara were reunited with Metropolitan Chrysostomos, followed in 1950, by Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades.
The fiercest persecutions of the Old Calendarists occurred starting in 1954, when Archbishop Spyridon was elected primate of the State Church. Priests and monastics were arrested, beaten, and forcibly shaved; churches were seized; Old Calendarists were barred from theological schools. Metropolitan Chrysostomos himself was arrested in 1951. Yet the members of the True Church remained firm in their defense of the Faith, preferring persecution to compromise. Only in 1954 did the persecution come to an end. Unfortunately, however, Bishops Polykarpos and Christophoros once again returned to the State Church, leaving Metropolitan Chrysostomos alone, unable to consecrate a successor before his blessed repose.
In 1960 two bishops of the ROCOR consecrated to the episcopacy Archimandrite Akakios. Shortly thereafter, a third bishop from the ROCOR, along with Bishop Akakios, consecrated further bishops. Following the repose of Archbishop Akakios, Archbishop Auxentios of Gardikia was elected Archbishop of the True Orthodx Church of Greece. Following a period of growth and strengthening, the direction of the church began to want under Archbishop Auxentios' poor guidance. Therefore, in February 1979, with the encouragement and agreement of Archbishop Auxentios, Metropolitan Callistos of Corinth and Antonios of Magara consecrated eight new bishops in order to strengthen the Church. Unfortunately, however, Archbishop Auxentios' fellow bishops refused to accept these consecrations. Thus, a new synod was formed by Metropolitans Callistos, Antonios, and the newly consecrated bishops. During this time communion was established with the Old Calendar Church of Romania. Following a period of confusion, Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili and Oropos was established as president of the Synod.
... he refuses to declare them devoid of Grace ... it is precisely this point which separates his Synod from the other, extremist, Old Calendar groups.
Metropolitan Cyprian is one of the most influential and respected hierarchs in modern day Greece. He was a spiritual son of the Blessed Archimandrite Philotheos [Zervakos] and is the founder and abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Cyprian and Justina in Fili, a spiritual center for all of Greece. His ecclesiastical stand is significant for its moderate, yet uncompromising, view. While separating from the State Church for reasons of faith, he refuses to declare them devoid of Grace, following the position of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina. It is precisely this point which separates his Synod from the other, extremist, Old Calendar groups.
The Synod of Metropolitan Cyprian has parishes and monasteries throughout Greece, Africa, Australia, Sweden, and North America. It is in full ecclesiastical communion with the Old Calendar Church or Romania headed by Metropolitan of Vlasie, the Old Calendar Church of Bulgaria headed by Bishop Photios, and now the ROCOR headed by Metropolitan Vitaly.
Bishop Photios, the sole Old Calendarist hierarch in Romania,was consecrated to the episcopacy by Metropolitan Cyprian, Bishop Chrysostomos of Etna, and Bishop Pahomie of the Romanian Church. Bishop Photios was a student and disciple of the renowned confessors of faith and theologians, Archimandrites Seraphim and Sergey of Bulgaria. Vladyka Photios concelebrated with Metropolitan Vitaly and several other bishops of the ROCOR on July 4/17, 1994, in the Church of st. John the Baptist in Mayfield, Pennsylvania.
It is our hope that the holy alliance of our Sister Churches may be a show of resistance against the tide of ecumenism...
It is our hope that the holy alliance of our SIster Churches may be a show of resistance against the tide of ecumenism and modernism [and of the super-correct disease -jh] which have had such a devastating effect on the Church.
---∞ ∞ ∞---
Extract From the Minutes of the Council of Bishops of the ROCOR
On June 28 / July 11, 1994, the Council of Bishops of the ROCOR addressed the question of the possibility of entering into communion in prayer and Eucharist with the group of Old Calendarist Greeks headed by Metropolitan Cyprian.
Circumstances of the case: A petition from the synod of Metropolitan Cyprian on this matter was received by the Synod of Bishops in 1993, but was not acted upon. Soon after,a new request was received, asking that the matter be reexamined. On July 21 / August 3, 1993, the Synod of Bishops appointed a committee t study this question and present a report to the Synod of Bishops. In connection with this the Council heard the following:
1. The report of the committee,which consisted of Their Graces, Archbishop Laurus and Bishops Daniel and Mitrophan, who studied the question of the existing divisions within the Greek Old Calendar Church;
2. A short history of the Greek Old Calendar Church from its beginning to the present day;
3. During deliberations, attention was also given to statements of those opposed to the union, in which questions were raised as to the canonicity of Metropolitan Cyprian's groups and their allegedly un-Orthodox teaching on grace. The remarks of private individuals were also heard concerning this question;
4. In addition, petitions from the Romanian Old Calendarists and the Bulgarian Bishop Photios, and from several private individuals, all urging the reception of the groups of Metropolitan Cyprian into communion of prayer, were heard;
5. During the deliberation of all the question outlined above, it was established that:
The Synod of Metropolitan Cyprian adheres to the exact same ecclesiological and dogmatic principals as our ROCOR
a] The Synod of Metropolitan Cyprian adheres to the exact same ecclesiological and dogmatic principals as our ROCOR. This is set forth in detail in their pamphlet: "An Exposition of the Doctrine Concerning the Church, for Orthodox Opposed to the Heresy of Ecumenism";
b] In 1986, the Synod of Archbishop Chrysostomos II tried and deposed Metropolitan Cyprian in absentia for allegedly holding to heretical teaching and for refusing to unite himself to their synod. But as the history of the Old Calendar divisions shows, Metropolitan Cyprian had never entered the synod of Archbishop Chrysostomos II , which was formed in late 1985, but was a member of the synod of Metropolitan Callistos in 1983, Metropolitan Cyprian headed the synod of the former. Metropolitan Cyprian had never submitted to his authority; the latter therefore lack the competence to discipline him.
it is very important for the true Orthodox to unite, stand together and oppose the betrayers of the Orthodoxy of the holy fathers
After deliberation and analysis of all aspects of these questions, the Council of Bishops holds that at the present time, when apostasy is spreading and many official representatives of Orthodoxy, such as the Patriarch of Constantinople and other patriarchates, are succumbing to and embracing the position of the modernists and ecumenists, it is very important for the true Orthodox to unite, stand together and oppose the betrayers of the Orthodoxy of the holy fathers. In connection with this, the Council of Bishops had decided:
1. To establish communion in prayer and the Eucharist with the Greek Old Calendarist synod of Metropolitan Cyprian, as well as with His Grace, Bishop Photios of Triaditsa, who heads the Bulgarian Old Calendar diocese.
2. All parties refrain from interfering in each other's internal ecclesiastical affairs. If any questions arise which require deliberations, it is essential to take counsel together.
1] To communicate the above-cited decision to Metropolitan Cyprian and Bishop Photios.
2] To inform our clergy and flock of the Council's decision through publication in church periodicals.
The Council of Bishop
Today marks 7 days after the surgery.
Here is the latest...it is much of the same. Father is slowly recovering in the hospital. He has fitful nights but is o.k. during the day. He is eating which is always good. Alexander is down but just for a day. He and Matushka are visiting Father right now in the hospital. There is really not much more to tell but I know people are awaiting news. All I can say is to continue to pray for him and Matushka and to thank everyone for the prayers.
Please pray for Fr. Vladimir Anderson and Matushka and his family. Fr. Vladimir is in the hospital after an operation that may not have gone as well as we had hoped. As of Monday afternoon, Father is improving slowly. A nurse reported that he even joked.
From +AC: The notes below are taken from a lecture by the Secretary of the SIR Synod, Bishop Klemes (Clement) of Gardikion, a well-educated and excellent theologian. His lecture was delivered in Athens earlier this year on the Sunday of Orthodoxy:
* * *
"Relatively recently, high-ranking officials of the Moscow Patriarchate have publicly confirmed that their Patriarchate -- despite the rupture of ecclesiastical communion -- regards Roman Catholicism as a true and valid "Sister Church," with Sacramental Grace, and believes that it belongs, together with the Latins, to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ"!*
* "The primacy: a help, not a weight: interview with Metropolitan Philarete of Minsk by Gianni Valente," <http://www.30giorni.it/us/articolo.asp?id=9356>; cf. "A member of the Holy Synod of the MP states that his Church recognizes Roman Catholic Mysteries," Vertograd, newsletter No. 76 (October 21, 2009). The statement about the recognition by the Moscow Patriarchate of the Mysteries of the Papists was made by the then Archbishop [now Metropolitan] Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk during a broadcast of "The Church and the World" on the television channel "Russia," October 17m 2009:
"To all intents and purposes, mutual recognition of each other's Mysteries already exists between us. We do not have communion in the Mysteries, but we do recognize each other's Mysteries."
Minutes of the Diocesan Meeting
of the Eastern America & New York and
Syracuse & Nikolskiy Dioceses
of the ROCA
September 21 OS \ October 4 NS, 2010
St. Demetrius, Metropolitan of Rostov.
The meeting was held at the Tolstoy Foundation, Valley Cottage, New York.
The meeting of the Eastern America & New York and Syracuse & Nikolskiy Dioceses
of the ROCA under the chairmanship of the Most Reverend Metropolitan Agafangel, First Hierarch of the ROCA, was attended by: Abp. Andronik, Bishop Joseph, Archpriest Gregory Kotlaroff, Archpriest Vsevolod Dutikow, Fr. Daniel Meschter, Fr. Dimitriy Amelchenko, Hieromonk Makary (Foster), Dcn. Dimitri Dobronravov, Mother Agapia (Stephanopoulos), and Dimitri Gontscharow, Evgeniy Vernikovskiy, Mark Kotlaroff, Oleg Rodzianko, Tatiana Rodzianko.
The meeting began at 09:20 with the prayer, “O Heavenly King…”
Evgeniy Vernikovskiy was chosen secretary of the meeting.
The following agenda was approved at the meeting:
- General report by the Chairman, Metropolitan Agafangel.
- Reports by all attending rectors on their parishes.
- Report of the Diocesan Secretary.
- Report of the Diocesan Treasurer.
- Report of the pilgrimage coordination committee.
- Report on the Synod archives and library.
- Report from Fr. Vsevolod Dutikow on the California Mission.
- Report on diocesan publications and distribution.
1. The Chairman spoke of his happiness at the stable state of our church. He is encouraged by the recent addition of bishops, priests and parishes. There are currently 12 bishops in the Synod of Bishops. He stressed we need to maintain sobornost in our Church, not cause divisions and obey agreements made jointly, all in a spirit of love and respect.
The Chairman spoke of his recent trip to California. He was able to meet with some of the faithful in the San Diego area, but unfortunately his visit to the San Francisco area was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. He hopes to return again, possibly next year.
The Chairman also spoke of the possibility of opening an office of the Synod of Bishops in the residence at Mountain View in New York State.
Resolved: assign Dimitri Gontscharow to manage talks with the “Mountain View” corporation, and if necessary, to sign the agreement with the corporation on behalf of the Synod, after the text of the document is approved by the Chairman of the Synod.
2. The rectors present said things are going very well at their parishes.
Fr. Dimitriy Amelchenko has had some differences of opinion with his parishioner Evgeniy Vernikovskiy and they have not been able to resolve the situation.
M. Agapia stated her convent needs a full-time priest.
Resolved: assign Bishop Joseph to review the situation in Boston and bring it to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.
3. The Diocesan Secretary, Dimitri Gontscharow, reported the EA & NY diocese has been incorporated, which provides it basic tax-exempt status.
Resolved: to accept the report. To thank Dimitri Gontscharow for his efforts in getting the New York diocese incorporated.
4. Dimitri Gontscharow explained the Diocesan Treasurer, Alexander Renko, was unable to attend the meeting. The Secretary explained the diocese’s finances are in good order. The Holy Trinity parish of Fr. Vsevolod is one of the largest and contributes greatly to the ability of the diocese to hold events and provide for the travel of its ruling bishop and others. The need for every parish in the diocese to contribute towards the common good was underlined, with each according to its means.
Resolved: to review and approve a full financial report at the next diocesan meeting. The St. Nicholas Convent and the Brotherhood of Holy Martyr Mina at Mountain View will submit their tithes directly to the Synod of Bishops to avoid incorporating the Syracuse & Nikolsky diocese at this time. Later, when more parishes are established in that diocese, it can be incorporated.
5. M. Agapia said a pilgrimage to the St. Nicholas Convent by a group of young people took place and it was organized by Olga Sauer.
Tatiana Rodzianko will make a similar visit next year with children from the New York area and elsewhere.
Mark Kotlaroff said he is organizing a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, under the direction of Abp. Andronik.
M. Agapia is taking a small group of pilgrims to the Holy Land early next year.
Resolved: to accept the report. To include Deacon Fr. Dimitriy Dobronravov in the committee. To publicize any pilgrimages or trips as widely as possible in all the parishes and Internet sites.
6. M. Agapia reports all the books and materials currently at the Convent have been cataloged. As more people choose to live there, there will be more helpers to expand the library and archives.
Resolved: to accept M. Agapia’s report and support her efforts at establishing the library and archives.
7. Fr. Vsevolod reports he was unable to hold services in California on the day scheduled by Galina Vladimirovna Volkova, as he had previous obligations in his parish. He added Galina Vladimirovna has done an excellent job in organizing the Mission and its newsletter. Fr. Vsevolod hopes to arrange a visit there in the near future.
Resolved: to continue developing the California Mission with the help of Galina
Vladimirovna and try to establish an address list of ROCA members on the West Coast. Also try to arrange trips of other clergy to conduct services on the west coast.
8. Dimitri Gontscharow said the journal “The Russian Zoar” is the primary publication of the Church. The Synod of Bishops has also approved the creation of a bulletin, “The Sower,” which has produced several issues already. The website “ROCOR News” was created, but needs more timely updates.
Evgeniy Vernikovskiy proposed that schedule of services for the larger parishes should be posted on the Internet to be available to all.
Met. Agafangel reported John Herbst has offered to head an information center to collect news from all the parishes and post them on the “ROCOR News” website.
Resolved: to task John Herbst with creating and head an information center, with the right to enlist helpers and correspondents.
Met. Agafangel spoke of the importance of attracting Americans, who do not speak Russian, to Orthodoxy. Wherever possible or necessary, parishes should conduct services in one language and the other to preserve the richness of both traditions. He hopes the mission to non-Russian speaking believers will be enlarged.
Mark Kotlaroff spoke of the proposal of several of our clergy to conduct courses in North America in religious instruction and liturgics through correspondence courses, similar to ones offered in the past by the Holy Trinity Seminary, and to share their experience. Several bishops are also willing to assist in this project.
Resolved: Mark Kotlaroff will hold a preliminary meeting with everyone interested in the project to begin organizing the correspondence seminary. They will establish the teaching staff and the curriculum.
The meeting concluded at 12:30 with the prayer, “It is Truly Meet…”
The Chairman of the Meeting: +Agafangel
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
Meeting Secretary: Evgeniy Vernikovskiy
Hieromartyr Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa (1937†)
September 27/October 10
Holy New Martyr Peter
Metropolitan of Krutitsa
A wild animal is kinder than the wild-souled atheists
...Suddenly, he saw an enormous bear approaching him! What was
it doing there, seeing as how those animals sleep all winter long...
2781 State Route 145,
Middleburgh, NY 12122
Mountain View is the new spiritual and cultural center of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia not incorporated by the Moscow Patriarchate.
Here, the ideals of our pastors Vl. Anthony, Vl. Anastasy,
Vl. Philaret and Vl. Vitaly are being steadily and firmly preserved.
All who hold such an undertaking dear are invited to participate in the work at the restoration of the building and clearance of the property.
Come and help
Two Weekends in October
SATURDAY 16/ SUNDAY 17
SATURDAY30/ SUNDAY 31
Two Weekends in November
SATURDAY 13/ SUNDAY 14
FRIDAY 26/ SATURDAY 27/ SUNDAY 28
Please email in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. I-87 N exit 21 toward NY-23/Catskills/Cairo
2. Turn left at Co Rd 23B
3. NY-23 W 8.1 mi
4. NY-145 N 28.8 mi
5. Turn right to stay on NY-145 N 2.4 mi
(2781 St. Rt. 145 will be on your left)
(Big blue barn and grain elevator to your right)
St. Sergius of Radonezh
Russian Orthodox Church
104 Lake Road, Valley Cottage, NY 10989
Rector: V. Rev. Gregory Kotlaroff
(845) 268-65 51
SERVICES IN ENGLISH ONCE PER MONTH
Our dear Archpastor, Vladyka Andronik, will be serving Divine Liturgy on the first Saturday of every month here at Valley Cottage.
The first date will be on November 6
The time shall be announced later but I believe it will be 10 a.m.
If you are interested, or know someone else who is, please provide me with the requested information below. I am certain it would please Vladyka very much to have a large turnout.
We have the Music for Divine Liturgy purchased from Father Gregory Williams. He has much more in English.
- A person who can lead a choir
- Altar Servers
Please send to me as soon as possible:
- Your name and e-mail address
- Optional: Your home telephone or cell phone number
Should you need anything more I shall be pleased to answer your questions. Thank you.
Sub-deacon Ilarion Maharadze Marr
Home phone: 203.312.9595 - Cell phone: 203.482.0210
E-mail address: Ilarion.Marr@GMail.com
Aimed at RocorMP Youth
MP Russian Orthodox Youth Committee
Note: from the front page, you may choose either the Russian Version or the English Version. The welcome message is:
What is important to us was best stated by Professor I. Ili'n in 1949.
To be Russian means not only to speak Russian. To be Russian is to believe in Russia as all great people of Russia had, as all her geniuses and creators had. We, as Russian people, are called upon not only to know our homeland's history, but to see in it the struggle of our nation for its distinctive spiritual image. We must comprehend in a new way - spiritually and religiously - the entire history of Russia's culture. To believe in Russia means to see and acknowledge that her soul is rooted in God and that her history is a growth from these roots...
Yes, The KGB/FSB neo-soviet gang, want...'.the Russian Youth!'....especially living outside their 'Russian-Federation'.
The opening quote from that Professor Ilyin, in 1949, is most interesting. Clearly, this is but more proof, that ROCOR/MP is but an arm of the Kremlin gang, and that their whole goal in netting in the 'Zarubyeshniki' ROCOR faithful, was and is, to influence them, and their children and grandchildren to OBEY them and their KGB/FSB agenda for Russia, for 'Russians' (world-wide), and USING the Russian Orthodox religion, ...all with the excuse of: love & loyalty to the 'Russian Motherland', to 'Russian Culture', etc. (which twisted politicized version of Russian culture, THEY ALONE represent!). Of course, the real truth of this Kremlin/KGB propaganda smokescreen, has nothing to do with, 'being Russian', etc. It is solely concerned with seeing the neo-soviet Putin/Kremlin-government/KGB-run & still enslaved MP-'church', as........."Mother Russia", etc...and thus, OBEYING their ('holy-God ordained'-???) political & religious, leadership and dictums, ......just as did Joseph Stalin also taught and encouraged.
And, anyone! who is against, THEM, is 'anti-Russian', 'an enemy of Russia', or 'disloyal to Russia', or 'A Nazi', etc. etc.
Do these Kremlin KGB/FSB fellows, really think that everyone! is a total moron, and can't see through their propaganda?
Before the Face of Antichrist
Orthodox Life March 1970
That the world is leaving Christ and that it is united in this movement, embracing with it even all that was included in Christendom in all its manifestations, including Orthodoxy, which has remained successively the original Church of Christ, is already, to a degree, becoming accessible to the understanding of Christian man, And this is already calling forth certain actions of self defense on the part of those who want to remain with Christ. Something of what is done in this line, more or less by chance, becomes known to the general public. But the consciousness of the unity which disregards all the bonds which, until the present "ecumenical" period of the history of the Church, were accepted as being absolutely impassable, and in this, especially in regard to faithfulness to Christ, however subjectively it might be understood -- such a consciousness has by no means yet defined itself.
Christ once spoke perfectly clearly about the character of a similar unity. Before us stand two statements of two completely different hues of meaning. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad [Matt. 12:30]. This is the first: he who does not manifest active solidarity with Christ is not only not Christ's but is a force already inimical to Christ. But in as much as He speaks about the disciples following Him, the Lord gave a completely different explanation when they told him that they had forbidden a man who did not associate with them to cast out demons in the name of Christ. Forbid him not; for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part [Mark :38-40]. This is the second statement, according to which service to Christ is by no means limited formally; it can be accepted by Christ in any form -- by grace adopted and clothed by Him in His power, to one degree or another. Both these sayings of the Lord cannot but have a permanent significance and, perhaps, it is now that they must be revealed in full measure -- at a time when, although in a reverse direction, an atmosphere akin to early Christianity arises.
Those who are not actively united with the true Christ -- those, by the force of things, turn out to be against Him. This is manifest today with an astounding clarity which takes on an ever-increasing mass character. But as for the forms of communion with Christ, they are losing more and more their character of formal successiveness. Communion with Christ, in an entirely new and ever growing force, is capable of being born anew, on any soil! And thus there is formed a mass phenomenon, characteristic of the end of the world, which will be met by the most decisive counteraction on the part of the Antichrist -- a counteraction so disastrous that, as the Lord Himself told us, He will be prepared to hasten His coming in order to intercept this destruction.
This phenomenon which will decisively define itself only in the time of the Antichrist, nonetheless can be noted in our times in the natural, mutual attraction to one another of those who want to remain with Christ. Thus there appears a certain contrasting analogy to the ecumenism of Antichrist -- in the spiritual kinship of all the appearances of faithfulness to Christ, wherever they be found, even if in the manifestation of heterodoxy, if there arises a reaction against the ecumenism of Antichrist in the form of a defense of minimal bit of the genuine Christ that remains in that ecclesiastical body, then this cannot but arouse sympathy from all the "faithful" regardless of the degree to which they are "Orthodox". And here, of course, is not excluded any formulation of such a unity in faithfulness to Christ. Moreover, if this unity embraces all the "faithful," regardless of the fullness of their faithfulness, then does there not quite naturally arise a striving for the general possession of the fullness of Truth?
And here one saying of Christ attracts special attention, a saying which until the present time remained unrevealed in its concrete content. So often we hear the following words of the Savior in church: I am the door; by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture ... I am the good shepherd... I am the good shepherd and know my sheep and am known of mine.. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd [John 10:9-16].
Is the meaning of that which is proclaimed in these words revealed in what must naturally arise at the present time, under the conditions of the epidemic regeneration in the direction of Antichrist of all church "denominations", even Orthodoxy? All those, each in their own denomination who courageously remain with Christ, thus separate themselves from their own denomination, which as a whole, is joining Antichrist. And is not their mutual drawing together, generated into a general preparedness to rise to the level of the fullness of Orthodoxy? And in this, does there not seem to be realized just what Christ spoke of as the one fold which will arise, uniting around the one Shepherd?
Thus there appear two conflicting processes which cannot but develop more and more clearly in the process of the unfolding of apostasy: on the one hand, the appearance within all Christian denominations of a certain kernel of "faithful" who are prepared to endure all in their faithfulness to their denomination in its original from, not corrupted by the influence of Antichrist, and at the same time the appearance, completely natural, with the drawing together in the name of faithfulness to Christ, of a sympathetic interest in the content of the faith of all the denominations thus drawn together, an interest which will extend just as naturally to the realization of the alienation of all heterodox denominations from the fullness of Christianity, which is present only in Orthodoxy.
Thus two new phenomena appear in the atmosphere of the thickening apostasy: mutual, sympathetic interest and inclination to rapprochement from all sides in all Christian denominations as far as faithfulness to the true Christ is concerned, and at the same time, as a result of mutual trust in the atmosphere of faithfulness to the true Christ on the part of all denominations which have left the original fullness of Christianity, a mutual inclination to acquire this fullness.
To define the Orthodox point of view more precisely in this process of thickening apostasy, it can be said that all, in the eyes of Orthodoxy, are her own, if only they manifest a faithfulness to even that little bit of genuine Christianity which they receive in their denomination. But, on the part of Orthodoxy, more than ever before, a missionary effort must be directed to these heterodox in the name of forming, before the face of Antichrist, one fold following one Shepherd.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Phlorina:
An Heroic Confessor of the Faith
and Restorer of Hallowed
On the fifty-fifth Anniversary of the
Repose of The Confessor-Hierarch
(Kabourides), of Phlorina
† His Grace, Bishop Klemes (Clement) of Gardikion,
Secretary of the Holy Synod in Resistance
EVEN as ecumenism charges forth in all of its forms, pronouncements, and manifestations—indeed, precisely at the outset of a potentially decisive meeting of the concessionary theological dialogue between Orthodox and Roman Catholics in Vienna, Austria—we commemorate at the Liturgy three anniversaries of a leading figure in contemporary Orthodoxy: the 55th anniversary of the repose in the Lord of Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Kabourides) of Phlorina, the 75th anniversary of the initiation of his struggle as a Confessor for the Traditions of the Holy Fathers, and the 140th anniversary of his birth in Madytos, Eastern Thrace.
Our celebration is not untimely, and his multifarious messages are not unrelated to the tragic realities of the Church today.
From history, we are aware that, even as far back as Apostolic times, the “mystery of iniquity” has been active and at work, be it openly or in hidden manner. Its ulterior purpose is to impede and, if possible, to thwart the mystery of salvation within the mystery of the one and unique Church of Christ, and in particular by adulterating the Truth of the Faith through heresies. The aim of the “mystery of iniquity” is to bring about the spread and domination of “apostasy,” which, at its apogee, will beget and disclose “the man of sin..., the son of perdition,” to wit, the Antichrist, for the final tribulation of the Church prior to the Second and glorious Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
* * *
The great heresy of Papism, which was cut away from the Church in the eleventh century, has unleashed, as is well known, an uncontrollable torrent of innovations and false teachings. One of these was the concoction, in the sixteenth century, of the so-called Gregorian Calendar, which was condemned by three Pan-Orthodox Synods in Constantinople, in 1583, 1587, and 1593. Since then, the persistence of the Latins in foisting their calendar innovation on the Orthodox Church has been looked upon as Papal intrigue and was categorically rejected by Orthodoxy up until the beginning of the twentieth century.
In 1920, the Encyclical of the Œcumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople “To the Churches of Christ Everywhere” proclaimed the ecclesiological heresy of ecumenism in the midst of the Orthodox Church, proposing as a first practical measure for rapprochement with the heterodox a common calendar for the joint celebration of the Christian Feasts.
The ecumenist Congress of 1923 in Constantinople, under Patri- arch Meletios (Metaxakes), a Freemason, decided on the calendar innovation, with the intention of also changing the Paschalion, along with a series of ecclesiastical reforms, so as to abrogate and trample upon the Sacred Canons and the Tradition of the Church.
In 1924, the Œcumenical Patriarchate unilaterally resolved, after exerting suitable pressure on Archbishop Chrysostomos of Athens, to impose the calendar innovation on just a few of the local Orthodox Churches. The Church was divided and sundered into innovationists and anti-innovationists, with regard to the issue of the Calendar. A “small flock” in our country [Greece—Trans.], which increased daily, initially without Hierarchs, resisted in a self-sacrificial manner this pro-heretical imposition, which lacked any ecclesiastical, canonical, or pastoral foundation, being based solely on worldly and pseudo-scientific arguments.
The innovationist Church in Greece, which dubbed the New Calendar the “revised Julian Calendar,” even though it will not coincide with the Gregorian Calendar until 2800, had no inkling of the “grave confusion” that this reform had introduced into the life of the Church or of the “reaction” of the God-loving flock. Thus, the “intervention of the civil authorities” proved necessary for the “implementation” of the calendar innovation, which is for this reason, too, contemptible and rejectable.
The “unfortunate repercussions” of the innovation were palpable. A fair number of the faithful refused to accept it and formed the “Greek Religious Community of True Orthodox Christians.”
* * *
There was a difference of opinion within the Hierarchy of the innovationist Church over the issue of the Calendar. Many traditionalist Hierarchs reacted against the innovation and strove for the restoration of the traditional Church Calendar. One Hierarch among them offered a very judicious observation, which touched on the heart of the matter. To be precise, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Phlorina said at the Tenth Session of the Hierarchy, on June 27, 1929:
In submitting a memorandum on this subject, I implore you to take into consideration the fact that the Calendar ought to be examined primarily from the standpoint of the difference with the Catholics (Papists), against whom the Old Calendar constitutes a bulwark for Orthodox Christians. This has great significance for our nation and will have momentous consequences, the responsibility for which I am unable to bear.
In truth, the Church Calendar is a “bulwark” against the machinations of heretics, and has from of old been regarded as such in the Orthodox world, until the Shepherds themselves decided to demolish it, thereby putting the Divine Vineyard in jeopardy.
Later on, the same Confessor-Hierarch, now as the former Metropolitan of Phlorina and leader of the anti-innovationist Old Calendarists, wrote elegantly that the Holy Fathers, in order to safeguard the Orthodox Church from the false teaching of the West,
raised in the form of ramparts and bastions the bulwarks of the Canons and Synodal decrees.... One of these ramparts of Orthodoxy is the Church Calendar, which separates the Orthodox Churches from the heretical ones in the celebration of the Feasts and the observance of the fasts, and thus provides the simpler among the faithful with a perceptible conception of the ecclesiastical difference between the Orthodox Christian and the heretic or heterodox Christian.
However, since this “rampart” was demolished, the ecumenist divagation of the innovationists was thenceforth to be expected, as we see it unfolding today!
* * *
The calendar innovation did not come about for the sake of astronomical and chronometrical accuracy, as its defenders maintained and continue to maintain, even though they are well aware that the Church never posited such a criterion. Rather, it came about, as Meletios Metaxakes admitted, for the sake of rapprochement with the heterodox and to make an “impression on the civilized world through this” rapprochement!
These anti-Orthodox motivations—again, according to the great innovator, Patriarch Meletios—aim also at the inevitable adjustment of the Paschalion to the New Calendar.
The issue of the common celebration of Pascha according to the New Calendar as it already occurs in the Church of Finland, or according to some other putative calendrical reckoning of more recent provenance, frequently recurs in ecumenical circles. It is, moreover, no secret that the Orthodox ecumenists have a deep desire and longing for this, since it is here that their calendar innovation of necessity ends up.
Just a few days ago, the ecumenist Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, during his visit to Austria, stated (September 14, 2010 [New Style]), inter alia, at an ecumenical get-together with the Roman Catholics, that the common celebration of Pascha with the Catholics “is a matter of great necessity.”
As may easily be inferred from the examples cited above, we cannot separate the calendar issue from the panheresy of ecumenism or, by implication, from the apostasy which is paving the way for the pan-religion of the Antichrist and is sorely putting the members of the Church to the test.
* * *
Metropolitan Chrysostomos, who retired from the See of Phlorina in 1932, knew well that we Orthodox “are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” For this reason, with “faith,” “confidence,” and “patience” as his sole provisions, he unyieldingly did the Will of God in order to reap the good fruits of his vocational vows, and also in order to check the incursion of pro-heretical forces into the Church, hence providing solid ground for an Orthodox witness of resistance and a refuge for the children of the persecuted Church at a time when apostasy was in the ascendant.
Thus, in May of 1935, together with Metropolitans Germanos of Demetrias and Chrysostomos of Zakynthos, he took the step of walling himself off from the innovationists and assumed the pastoral care of the anti-innovationist community of the Church.
We scarcely need to emphasize that this act of Confession required heroism of soul.
In their “Statement of Abjuration” to the Hierarchy of the New Calendar Church, the three Confessor-Hierarchs invoked the following serious reasons for their action:
—the unilateral and uncanonical introduction of the Gregorian Calendar into the Church, contrary to the traditions of the seven Œcumenical Synods and the age-old practice of the Orthodox Church;
—the rupture of the unity of the Orthodox Church and the division of the Christians through the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar, without the consent of all the Orthodox Churches;
—the contravention of the Divine and Sacred Canons, which govern Divine worship, and in addition, the violation of the Fast of the Holy Apostles;
—the rupture of the unity of the Orthodox Church in the celebration of the Feasts and division among Christians, which pertains indirectly to the dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of the Symbol of Faith;
—the instigation of scandal, division, and recrimination among Christians and the rejection of concord, love, and solidarity.
For these reasons, they were of the opinion that the ruling Hierarchy of the Church of Greece had cut itself off, according to the Sacred Canons, from the wholeness of the Orthodox Church and had rendered itself in essence schismatic, with the proviso that they (the resisting Metropolitans) were struggling for the return of the Traditional Church Calendar and the restoration of Orthodoxy and the peace of the Church and the nation.
* * *
This persistence on the part of Metropolitan Chrysostomos in confessing the Faith—both then, at that critical juncture, and also later on, until his death—was characteristic of him and unshakable. He never lost the opportunity to proclaim that
We have boldly and courageously unfurled not the banner of rebellion against Orthodoxy and of division among Christians as have they [the innovators Meletios Metaxakes and Chrysostomos Papadopoulos], but the glorious and honorable standard of the union of disunited Orthodoxy and of the pacification of the Church on the basis of hallowed Traditions and the Divine and Sacred Canons.
He believed that we resisters have full canonical justification for temporarily severing ecclesiastical communion with the Hierarchy of the New Calendar Church, prior to a Synodal verdict, and for “forming our own religious community provisionally,” until there is an authoritative and final resolution of the calendar question by a Pan-Orthodox Synod.
The purpose of his action, far removed from any personal motivation, was to reunite all of the Orthodox Churches, which had become separated through the unilateral alteration of the Festal Calendar, in the celebration of the Christian Feasts and the simultaneous observance of the fasts.
* * *
Given these few but wholly pithy points, how can there be any validity in the accusation of schism and disobedience against Metropolitan Chrysostomos as regards the Church of Greece, and how can the decision to depose him, based as it is on this erroneous line of thought, be considered valid?
Schism occurs when one refuses to obey a lawful and canonical ecclesiastical authority and displays insubordination towards it, and certainly not when one withholds obedience and subordination from an ecclesiastical authority that has introduced innovations and which one has disavowed for reasons of faith and righteousness.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos did not disavow the Hierarchy of the innovationist Church of Greece out of a desire for leadership or out of self seeking, but for ecclesiastical and canonical reasons, which pertained not only to the Sacred Canons concerning Divine worship, but also to the very unity of the One Church.
There had been no rebellion against the canonical ecclesiastical authority, the Confessor-Hierarch affirmed, nor against the Orthodox Church of Greece per se, but a rupture of ecclesiastical communion with the ruling Synod, since it had deviated, through the calendar reform—according to a strict Orthodox understanding of the matter— from the Canons and Traditions of the Church, and since he could not brook any complicity in this deviation and rupture in the unity of the Orthodox Church in the celebration of the Christian Feasts.
* * *
In spite of this, the innovationist Hierarchy proceeded hastily on June 1/14, 1935 to sentence the three Hierarchs to deposition and monastic house arrest.
This false and unjust deposition falls flat, since it was based on the alleged insubordination and rebellion of the accused. But it is also invalid for the reason that the members of the Synodal tribunal were themselves subject to trial and in contest against the Hierarchs who had walled themselves off; since the innovationists had no right to sit in judgment on the anti-innovationists who had disavowed them; the decision included the unheard-of penalty of house arrest; and the proper order for summonsing a Hierarch to stand trial was not observed.
Though at least the vast majority of the anti-innovationist flock had accepted the Confessor-Hierarch, who had been persecuted in this way as their Shepherd, he was twice exiled by the authorities, at the instigation of the innovationists, as a malefactor (1935, 1951), frequently hauled before law courts on charges of allegedly usurping authority, humiliated, despised, treated unjustly, and slandered,—though without losing his sense of purpose, his vision and hope, or his boldness as a Confessor.
* * *
Certain ill-disposed persons, both then and now, have raised, and do raise, the question as to why the Confessor-Hierarch did not hasten to align himself with the Old Calendarist flock from the outset, but waited for eleven whole years (1924-1935), maintaining communion with those whom he later denounced as innovationists.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos himself declared, from the place of his first exile—the Holy Monastery of St. Dionysios of Olympos—in 1935, that although, along with other Hierarchs, he had not endorsed the calendar innovation, he bore with it out of ecclesiastical oikonomia and out of concern lest he create a schism, in the hope that, after suitable enlightenment, the Hierarchy would reintroduce the Orthodox Festal Calendar. However, despite his efforts and the measures that he took, the majority of the Hierarchy, under the influence of the innovationist Archbishop, stubbornly and obstinately persisted in the innovation. Since peaceful means had been exhausted, he thenceforth disavowed the ruling Synod. Furthermore, he only gradually became aware of the gravity of the issue, having not originally been fully enlightened about it. In fact, he had confidence in assurances—primarily those of the innovationist Archbishop—that this issue had no bearing on the Faith or Divine worship, and that all of the local Orthodox Churches would adopt the New Calendar at the suggestion and urging of the Œcumenical Patriarchate.
In the meantime, division among the Orthodox continued to exist and became wider. And the innovationist Hierarchy, like an “inhuman and hardhearted stepmother,” persecuted her Orthodox children for their adherence to Church Tradition, while the Old Calendarist community veered towards extremes because it lacked leaders with ecclesiastical authority.
Thus, Metropolitan Chrysostomos was led little by little, along with his original fellow-strugglers, to assume the pastoral care of the anti-innovationists, “moved by the hope that the Hierarchy, compelled by the invincible force of the truth and of Orthodoxy, and avoiding the creation of what would henceforth become a formal schism, would see fit to reintroduce the traditional Festal Calendar for the union of the Orthodox Greek people.”
* * *
The steadfast tenacity, the virtuous way of life, and the indefatigable activity of the Confessor-Hierarch Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Phlorina, in spite of the vicissitudes and difficulties of those times and circumstances, and in spite of reversals, persecutions, and machinations, imprinted his personality on the conscience of the Old Calendarist Orthodox community, and more widely, too, as its unquestioned leader.
Nevertheless, the tergiversations of his fellow Bishops were a grave disappointment for him and caused him great and unbearable distress. In the course of the struggle, he remained the sole Hierarch, whereas at the beginning (1935), the three Metropolitans had consecrated four other Bishops. Some of them retreated to the New Calendar Church out of fear and instability, while others split off and became marginalized owing to their lack of a healthy ecclesiology.
Already in 1937, Bishops Germanos of the Cyclades and Matthew of Bresthene had denounced Metropolitan Chrysostomos for not teaching aright the word of Truth, since he had begun to issue clarifications about what the characterization of the innovationists as “schismatics” and indeed, “deprived of the Grace of the All-Holy Spirit” might mean in ecclesiological terms.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos insisted that such issues were a matter of personal opinion and denoted something that applied “potentially” and not “in actuality.” The innovationists were declared to be such, but in order for this to hold good in truth and in actual fact, they would have to be judged and condemned by a lawful ecclesiastical authority; that is, by a recognized Autocephalous Orthodox Church, or more clearly and more fully by a Pan-Orthodox Synod of the entire Church.
The faction of clergy and laity which had broken ecclesiastical communion with the ruling Hierarchy did not constitute a distinct Church, but “belong[s] canonically to the same one and undivided Church, as an unsullied and integral part of her.”
The Confessor-Hierarch emphasized that the original resisters had set out on their struggle for the sake of restoring the traditional Calendar to the Church, and not in order to make permanent or perpetuate a division in the Church.
It is plain that he did not have any sense that the “Religious Community” under him or the provisional Holy Synod were the Church in Greece, to the exclusion of all others.
* * *
Even when, on May 26, 1950, he signed an Encyclical that stated that the innovationists were deprived of Mysteriological (Sacramental) Grace, that retracted the terms “potentially” and “in actuality,” and that said that those coming from the New Calendar Church should be rechrismated, he did not indicate to anyone, at a broader level, that he had truly changed his ecclesiology and, in general, his ecclesiological thinking and beliefs. That Encyclical, with the three discordant points mentioned above, was patently unionist, aimed at unifying the fragmented adherents of the Old Calendar, and displayed oikonomia and diplomacy in view of coming woes. The Metropolitan himself did not enforce it and stated, in fact, that he signed it in self-defense.
Moreover, in this Encyclical he does not express the slightest remorse or regret as “culprit” for the schism of the Matthewites, who broke away precisely because Metropolitan Chrysostomos did not accept the ideas contained in this document!
It is also well known that Metropolitan Chrysostomos never explicitly declared, concerning the innovationists or the anti-innovationists who seceded from him at various times, that they had “fallen away from the Church,” nor did he ever judge anyone for his ecclesiastical outlook. Finally, if he had the sense that he alone was the authentic personification of the entire Church, how is it that he left her orphaned? He ought, as the saying goes, to have moved heaven and earth to ensure his succession. However, the audacious act of the Consecration of Bishops by a single Bishop was committed by his ideological adversary, Matthew of Bresthene, who was consistent in his extremist ecclesiology as, supposedly, the sole remaining Orthodox Bishop! Metropolitan Chrysostomos never had such a belief or sensibility, as can be demonstrated with perfect clarity by a simple comparison of the two men on this issue.
* * *
The correct ecclesiological outlook of the Confessor-Hierarch and the steadfastness of his principles are worthy of admiration and emulation. He waged a truly theological struggle against both the innovationists and the erroneous ecclesiology of the anti-innovationists. He constantly faced smear campaigns, polemics, and attacks from both sides, such that the saying of the Apostle applies to him: “Without were fightings, within were fears.” Under pressure, he made concessions to the impetuosity of the anti-innovationists for the sake of agreement on more fundamental and less contentious issues, something that arguably has a Patristic basis.
His contribution, in our view, is incalculable, and the message that he sends to us from eternity, where he enjoys rest from his labors, is abundantly clear:
That we should remain Orthodox in deed and word in all matters and that we should at all costs avoid communion with those who deviate: there are no small points in matters of Faith; the preservation of Tradition as a treasure involves the crown of incorruption; maintaining a judicious course between extremes is a laborious tightrope walk, in that it draws fire upon itself from both sides; it is worth enduring and dying, even if one is abandoned for the sake of the Truth!
The Apostolic exhortation, “Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle,” does not lead to a sclerosis and ossification in our spiritual life and journey, but to a spiritual rebaptism in the waters of piety. Only by living in the Holy Spirit can we resist the “mystery of iniquity” and avoid falling into the “apostasy” of the heresy of ecumenism. Let all who have censured, and do censure, the anti-innovationists in word and in writing understand that the maintenance of living Tradition entails obedience, humility, and love for God, the Church, and the truly spiritual Fathers and Saints. Only within this blessed state do we elicit the gift of God “through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Only through this God-pleasing attitude do we receive “the love of the truth” and are we not abandoned to the acceptance of “strong delusion, that [we] should believe a lie” and the unrighteousness of heresy and iniquity.
* * *
Even though ecumenism, especially since 1965, has advanced and developed rapidly, in our view the guiding ecclesiological principles of the Confessor-Hierarch Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Phlorina have not lost their force, validity, or value. His discrete stand, in general, his entire spirit, and his unitive vision express our outlook and move us. The sacred legacy of this holy Confessor and Hierarch, as we have come to know it in the faith, confession, activity, and company of His Eminence, Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle, First Hierarch of the Holy
Synod in Resistance, and as we encounter it in the Holy Hierarchs who are our brethren, inspires us to maintain it with self-sacrifice to the end, so that we do not fall from “our own steadfastness,” but rather preserve it intact and spread it, to the glory of God and salvation in the Church. Amen!
September 7/20, 2010
Holy Martyr Sozon
Commemoration of the repose in the Lord
of the Confessor-Hierarch
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Phlorina
The extensive and informative footnotes have been removed from this copy. The original pdf. is on the SIR website in the "New on the Site" section, September 29, 2010.